WOMEN’S NEEDS AND GENDER EQUALITY IN LEBANON’S COVID-19 RESPONSE
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the corona virus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Originating in Wuhan province of central China in late 2019, the corona virus has since spread to 166 countries to date.With the first case detected in Lebanon on February 19th, COVID-19 poses significant risks for the country. COVID-19 reaches Lebanon at a time of historic and devastating economic crisis, rising unemployment, the application of informal capital controls which have stemmed imports (including critical health imports) and a weak social protection system. The potential short and longer- term consequences of this for Lebanon are exacerbated by issues of urban overcrowding, both within formal and informal refugee camps and settlements, and across the country more broadly. Pandemics magnifyy all existing inequalities; class, ability, age and gender. Purely as a physical illness, the data to date suggests that COVID-19 appears to affect women less severely. But in the past few weeks, the conversation about the pandemic has broadened to acknowledge the disproportionate gendered impact of the pandemic.